Saturday, May 31, 2014

Case Moth Caterpiller!

I've written about these fascinating creatures before.

See that longish, sticky-looking package thing, in the center of the photo? Look closely: there's a caterpillar sticking out of the left-side end of it:

As I said at the link:

I've just looked it up, and I quickly found a remarkably similar photo—even down to the way those outer sticks are configured: it's the cocoon (empty, pretty sure [not this time!]) of the caterpillar of a case moth, the Saunders' Case MothMetura elongatus. Oh, you have to go here, too. And holy crap, here, too. (I've just realized, this is related to the "Walking Turd" from December, but a different species, clearly.)

We've watched this guy (gal?) build that case, ever so slowly, while living on and among one plant—a grevillia—on our veranda. Every night—and sometimes, but only rarely, during daylight hours, as happened here for these photos Christine took—he comes out and walks around, dragging his case with him (he never leaves it), munching away on the leaves of the poor grevillia.

Here's a short close-up video of him/her eating, and the stick-cocoon that we've watched him build for several months now:

Here's a drawing showing the different life stages of our friend, and a similar creature. Description, from the already-linked Museum Victoria:
A zoological illustration of the Saunders' Case Moth, Metura elongatus, and the Faggot Case Moth, Clania ignobilis, by Arthur Bartholemew.

One day our friend here will close up shop, hunker down, and become a moth, like the one on the right in the image above, pretty sure. This is just sad—he's been a very good companion these several months. But not for him, or her, I suppose. If it's a she, she will stay in her cocoon; if it's a he, he will emerge—and fly off to find a female waiting in her cocoon for a male to come along.



  1. Wow! I am so glad you posted the video or I would have thought you folks down under were sharing a magical experience! Always love your posts!

  2. Way cool! You guys have some amazing critters down there!